Flights to & from Afghanistan Cancelled as Pakistan Closes Airspace Amid Escalating Tensions with India

A number of flights to and from Afghanistan have been cancelled while Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday officially announced that the country’s airspace is close till further notice.

The cancellations and airspace closure take place amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan after Pakistani military claimed that it had shot down two Indian fighter jets that had entered its airspace from across the Line of Control (LoC).

LoC is de-facto line between Indian-controlled and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir region.

Afghan Civil Aviation authority announced that all flights from and to India has been cancelled until further notice. The agency assured international airlines that Afghanistan airspace remains open.

Afghan commercial airliner Kam Air earlier confirmed that a flight heading from Kabul to Indian capital Delhi had been diverted by Pakistan. The airline said flights to and from India has been cancelled for the moment as it looks for alternative routes.

This is while media reported that Emirate and Fly Dubai have cancelled their flights to Afghanistan, although both airlines do not use Pakistani airspace when flying to and from the United Arab Emirates to Kabul.

Reports also indicate that commercial flights from Afghanistan to India and vis-à-vis including Afghan Ariana Airlines and Indian Spicejet are cancelled until further notice.

Meanwhile the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan announced that the country’s airspace will remain closed till Thursday after earlier announcing the closure of airspace.

The events take place as Pakistan claimed to have shot down two Indian fighter jets while India claimed to have shot down one that had entered the other country’s airspace.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors began after Pakistan based jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammad took responsibility for a terrorist attack in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14th that left some 40 Indian policemen dead.
India then launched an airstrike on a camp the country said belonged to the jihadist group within Pakistani territory early Tuesday morning.

World leaders including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged both countries to de-escalate while calling on Pakistan to act on terrorist hideouts within the country.
US and India, among other countries have accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists, a claim Pakistan has repeatedly denied.

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